Sunday, July 5, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Three New Species of Spiny Throated Reed Frogs (Anura: Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius) from Evergreen Forests of Tanzania; Hyperolius burgessi, H. davenporti & H. ukwiva

Figure 6 Colour in life of: (top row) Hyperolius burgessi from Nguru (left male, right female);
(second row) H. davenporti from Livingstone Mts. (left male, right female);
(third row left) H. ukwiva; (third row, right) H. spingularis from Malawi;
 (fourth row, left) H. minutissimus from Udzungwa Mts.; (fourth row, left) and H. tanneri from West Usambara.


The East African spiny-throated reed frog complex (Hyperolius spinigularis, H. tanneri, and H. minutissimus) is comprised of morphologically similar species with highly fragmented populations across the Eastern Afromontane Region. Recent genetic evidence has supported the distinctiveness of populations suggesting a number of cryptic species. We analyse newly collected morphological data and evaluate the taxonomic distinctiveness of populations.

We find three new distinct species on the basis of morphological and molecular evidence. The primary morphological traits distinguishing species within the Hyperolius spinigularis complex include the proportions and degree of spinosity of the gular flap in males and snout-urostyle length in females. Other features allow the three species to be distinguished from each other (genetics). We refine the understanding of H. minutissimus which can be found in both forest and grassland habitats of the Udzungwa Mountains, and provide more details on the call of this species. Further details on ecology are noted for all species where known.

Three new species are described and we narrow the definition and distribution of Hyperolius spinigularis and H. minutissimus in East Africa. The spiny-throated reed frogs have highly restricted distributions across the fragmented mountains of the Eastern Afromontane region. Given the newly defined and substantially narrower distributions of these spiny-throated reed frog species, conservation concerns are outlined.

Simon P Loader, Lucinda Lawson, Daniel M Portik and Michele Menegon. 2015. Three New Species of Spiny Throated Reed Frogs (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from Evergreen Forests of Tanzania. BMC Research Notes. 04/2015; 8. DOI: 10.1186/s13104-015-1050-y

[Herpetology • 2011] Gephyromantis (Phylacomantis) atsingy • A New Gephyromantis (Phylacomantis) Frog Species from the Pinnacle Karst of Bemaraha, western Madagascar

Gephyromantis pseudoasper, G. azzurrae, G. corvus 
and Gephyromantis atsingy
Crottini, Glaw, Casiraghi, Jenkins, Mercurio, Randrianantoandro, Randrianirina & Andreone, 2011

We describe a new mantellid frog of the subfamily Mantellinae from the karstic Bemaraha Plateau, western Madagascar. The new species belongs to the genus Gephyromantis, subgenus Phylacomantis, which previously included Gephyromantis azzurrae, Gephyromantis corvus and Gephyromantis pseudoasper. Gephyromantis atsingy sp. n. has a snout-vent length of 35–43 mm and is a scansorial frog living among the Tsingy de Bemaraha pinnacles and inside the caves present in the area. A morphological analysis and biomolecular comparison revealed the degree of differentiation between these four species of the Phylacomantis subgenus. The new species seems to be endemic to Tsingy de Bemaraha.

Keywords: Amphibia, Gephyromantis atsingy sp. n., Madagascar, Tsingy de Bemaraha

Gephyromantis (Phylacomantis) atsingy sp. n.

Etymology: The specific noun “atsingy” (pronounced: “a-tseen-jě”) is a Malagasy word. The terms “atsingy” or “tsingy” are the common names used to refer to the pointed and sharp calcareous lime stone formations and pinnacles originated through rainfall erosion. Although present in several other localities in western Madagascar (e.g.: Ankarana), the outcrops of Bemaraha are typical of this area and the specific name is therefore associated with the locality of provenience of the types.

Remark: This species has been referred to as Gephyromantis sp. aff. corvus “Bemaraha” by Glaw and Vences (2007), as Gephyromantis sp. 10 “Bemaraha” by Vieites et al. (2009), and Gephyromantis sp. aff. corvus by Bora et al. (2010).

Holotype: MRSN A5487 (NFN), subadult male, collected at Tsingy de Bemahara National Park, western Madagascar, Andamozavaky (Bekopaka commune, Antsalova district, Melaky region, Mahajanga province), 19°01.86'S, 44°46.80'E; 122 m a.s.l., collected by J. E. Randrianirina on 23 May 2003.

Figure 1. Schematic map of Madagascar with images and distribution of the four described species of the genus Gephyromantis, subgenus Phylacomantis.

Figure 2. Images of Gephyromantis atsingy sp. n.
MRSN A5487 (NFN), subadult male (holotype) from Andamozavaky, dorsal view (photo by J. E. Randrianirina) B–C ZSM 23/2006 (FGZC 0715), adult female (paratype) from Grotte Crystal, close to Andranopasazy, dorsolateral views (photos by F. Glaw) D ZSM 23/2006 (FGZC 0715), adult female (paratype) from Grotte Crystal, close to Andranopasazy, ventral view (photo by F. Glaw) E ZSM 37/2006 (FGZC 0746), juvenile (paratype) from Grotte Anjohimbazimba (photo by F. Glaw) F–G UADBA 39099 (RBJ 627), adult male (paratype) from Andranopasazy, dorsolateral and dorsal views (photos by C. Randrianantoandro) H UADBA 39099 (RBJ 627), adult male (paratype) from Andranopasazy, ventral view, with evident and developed femoral glands of “Type 2” (photo by C. Randrianantoandro) I ZSM 107/2006 (FGZC 0886), juvenile (paratype) from Bendrao Forest (“Camp 3”), dorsolateral view (photo by F. Glaw) J MRSN A5483 (BMR 031), juvenile (paratype) from Andamozavaky, dorsolateral view (photo by J. E. Randrianirina) K–L MRSN A5487 (NFN), subadult male (holotype) from Andamozavaky, dorsal and ventral views of the preserved specimen.

Angelica Crottini, Frank Glaw, Maurizio Casiraghi, Richard K.B. Jenkins, Vincenzo Mercurio, Christian Randrianantoandro, Jasmin E. Randrianirina and Franco Andreone. 2011. A New Gephyromantis (Phylacomantis) Frog Species from the Pinnacle Karst of Bemaraha, western Madagascar. ZooKeys. 81: 51-71. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.81.1111

Saturday, July 4, 2015

[Herpetology • 2012] Did Gekko Geckos Ride the Palawan Raft to the Philippines?

Aim: We examine the genetic diversity within the lizard genus Gekko in the Philippine islands to understand the role of geography and geological history in shaping species diversity in this group. We test multiple biogeographical hypotheses of species relationships, including the recently proposed Palawan Ark Hypothesis.

Location: Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

MethodsSamples of all island endemic and widespread Philippine Gekko species were collected and sequenced for one mitochondrial gene (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2) and one nuclear gene (phosducin). We used maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic methods to derive the phylogeny. Divergence time analyses were used to estimate the time tree of Philippine Gekko in order to test biogeographical predictions of species relationships. The phylogenetic trees from the posterior distribution of the Bayesian analyses were used for testing biogeographical hypotheses. Haplotype networks were created for the widespread species Gekko mindorensis to explore genetic variation within recently divergent clades.

ResultsBoth maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses indicated that Philippine Gekko species are a diverse clade with a long history in the archipelago. Ancestral range reconstruction and divergence time analyses suggest a Palawan microcontinental origin for this clade, coinciding with Palawan’s separation from Asia beginning 30 Ma, with subsequent diversification in the oceanic Philippine islands. The widespread species G. mindorensis and G. monarchus diversified in the late Miocene/early Pliocene and are potentially complexes of numerous undescribed species.

Main conclusions
The view of the Philippine islands as a ‘fringing archipelago’ does not explain the pattern of species diversity in the genus Gekko. Philippine Gekko species have diversified within the archipelago over millions of years of isolation, forming a large diverse group of endemic species. Furthermore, the Philippine radiation of gekkonid lizards demonstrates biogeographical patterns most consistent with stochastic colonization followed by in situ diversification. Our results reveal the need to consider deeper time geological processes and their potential role in the evolution of some Philippine terrestrial organisms.

Keywords: Biogeography; Buruanga Peninsula; diversification; Gekko; islands; lizards; Palawan Ark Hypothesis; Philippines; rafting; Southeast Asia

Cameron D. Siler, Jamie R. Oaks, Luke J. Welton, Charles W. Linkem, John C. Swab, Arvin C. Diesmos and Rafe M. Brown. 2012. Did Geckos Ride the Palawan Raft to the Philippines? Journal of Biogeography. 39(7); 1217–1234. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02680.x

Friday, July 3, 2015

[Paleontology • 2015] Huanansaurus ganzhouensis • A New Oviraptorid Dinosaur (Dinosauria: Oviraptorosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern China and Its Paleobiogeographical Implications

 Huanansaurus ganzhouensis 
Lü, Pu, Kobayashi, Xu, Chang, Shang, Liu, Lee, Kundrát & Shen, 2015
Illustration: Chuang Zhao  doi: 10.1038/srep11490

The Ganzhou area of Jiangxi Province, southern China is becoming one of the most productive oviraptorosaurian localities in the world. A new oviraptorid dinosaur was unearthed from the uppermost Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Ganzhou area. It is characterized by an anterodorsally sloping occiput and quadrate (a feature shared with Citipati), a circular supratemporal fenestra that is much smaller than the lower temporal fenestra, and a dentary in which the dorsal margin above the external mandibular fenestra is strongly concave ventrally. The position of the anteroventral corner of the external naris in relation to the posterodorsal corner of the antorbital fenestra provides new insight into the craniofacial evolution of oviraptorosaurid dinosaurs. A phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as closely related to the Mongolian Citipati. Six oviraptorid dinosaurs from the Nanxiong Formation (Ganzhou and Nanxiong) are distributed within three clades of the family. Each of the three clades from the Nanxiong Formation has close relatives in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, and in both places each clade may have had a specific diet or occupied a different ecological niche. Oviraptorid dinosaurs were geographically widespread across Asia in the latest Cretaceous and were an important component of terrestrial ecosystems during this time.

Systematic Paleontology

Oviraptorosauria Barsbold, 1976.

Oviraptoridae Barsbold, 1976.
Oviraptorinae Barsbold, 1981.

Huanansaurus ganzhouensis gen. et sp. nov. 

Etymology: Generic name refers to “Huanan” (in Chinese Pinyin), which means southern China, because the dinosaur was discovered in Ganzhou of Jiangxi Province. The specific name refers to the locality of Ganzhou.

Figure 2: The holotype of Huanansaurus ganzhouensis (HGM41HIII-0443) gen. et sp. nov.

Holotype: Partial skeleton with a nearly complete skull (HGM41HIII-0443); accessioned at the Henan Geological Museum, Zhengzhou, China.

Type locality and horizon: In the vicinity of the Ganzhou Railway Station (GPS coordinates are provided on request from the first author), Ganzhou City; Campanian-Maastrichtian; Nanxiong Formation (Upper Cretaceous)

Figure 1: Map of the fossil locality near Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, southern China.

Junchang Lü, Hanyong Pu, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Li Xu, Huali Chang, Yuhua Shang, Di Liu, Yuong-Nam Lee, Martin Kundrát and Caizhi Shen. 2015. A New Oviraptorid Dinosaur (Dinosauria: Oviraptorosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern China and Its Paleobiogeographical Implications. Scientific Reports. 5:11490. doi: 10.1038/srep11490

New Oviraptorosaur Discovered at Railroad Construction Site in China |

Thursday, July 2, 2015

[Botany • 2015] A Revision of Chuniophoenix (Arecaceae), Palm from China and Vietnam

 Chuniophoenix hainanensisC. nana & CsuoitienensisDistribution maps & Habit


A revision of the Asian palm genus Chuniophoenix is given based on study of 22 herbarium specimens of wild origin from A, BH, FIPI, HN, IBSC, K, LE, MO, NY, and P. Three species are recognized, including a new one, Chuniophoenix suoitienensis.

Keywords: dioecy, Palmae, Vietnam, China, Monocots

FIGURE 2. Distribution maps; Chuniophoenix hainanensis (green dots). C. nana (red dots). C. suoitienensis (blue square).

FIGURE 4. Chuniophoenix suoitienensis.
A. Habit, Suoi Tien, Vietnam (Henderson & Bui Van Thanh 3659). B. Immature fruits, Suoi Tien (Henderson & Bui Van Thanh 3659). C. Staminate flowers, Suoi Tien (Henderson & Nguyen Quoc Dung 3866). D. Pistillate flowers, Suoi Tien (Henderson & Nguyen Quoc Dung 3868) (C, D: images by Dr. Luu Hong Truong).

Chuniophoenix suoitienensis Henderson, sp. nov. (Figs. 4 & 5). 

Chuniophoenix suoitienensis differs from C. hainanensis in its 6–7 (versus 20–28) leaf segments and homogeneous (versus ruminate) endosperm, and from C. nana in its larger size and leaf sheaths split below the petiole to give a central cleft, and winged along the proximal margins. 

Type:— VIETNAM. Khanh Hoa: Dien Khanh District, Suoi Tien, 12.203N, 109.027E, ca. 50 m, 4 July 2010, A. Henderson & Bui Van Thanh 3659 (holotype, HN!; isotype NY!).

Distribution and habitat:— Southern Vietnam (Khanh Hoa) (Fig. 2) in disturbed forest along steep, rocky river margins at ca. 50 m elevation. 

Taxonomic notes:— Chuniophoenix suoitienensis appears to be dioecious. Based on notes made at the time of collection of the type specimen, inflorescences of presumed staminate plants have shorter peduncles to 10 cm long, elongate rachises, and 10–11 rachillae, these to 18 cm long. Presumed pistillate plants have longer peduncles 30–40 cm long, shorter rachises, and 3–4 rachillae, these to 15 cm long. 

Local names and uses:— la non. No uses recorded

Andrew Henderson. 2015. A Revision of Chuniophoenix (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa. 218 (2): 163–170. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.218.2.6

[Botany • 2008] Tahina spectabilis • A New Coryphoid Palm Genus from Madagascar

Tahina spectabilis J.Dransf. & Rakotoarinivo
Figure 3.
 A, The ‘tsingy’ at Antsingilava, Analalava, with crowns of Tahina spectabilisB, Individual of T. spectabilis just after anthesis. C, Abaxial surface of lamina base showing folds. D, Detail of transverse veinlets. E, Inflorescence. F, Infructescence.
All photographs by Nathalie Metz. | DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2007.00742.x

Tahina J.Dransf. & Rakotoarinivo, gen. nov. (Arecaceae) is described as a new genus from north-western Madagascar, with a single species T. spectabilis J.Dransf. & Rakotoarinivo, sp. nov. Tahina is included within tribe Chuniophoeniceae of subfamily Coryphoideae, based on the strictly tubular imbricate rachilla bracts, the flowers grouped in cincinni with tubular bracteoles, and the stalk-like base to the corolla. This position is corroborated by evidence from plastid DNA. Lamina anatomy is discussed in detail, and similarities with and differences from the other members of Chuniophoeniceae are discussed. Based on the ecological characteristics of the single locality, predictions are made on where else it may occur in Madagascar.

Keywords: Arecaceae; matK; palm; palmate; rbcL; rps16 intron; trnL-trnF

Tahina spectabilis J.Dransf. & Rakotoarinivo
Figure 3.
 A, The ‘tsingy’ at Antsingilava, Analalava, with crowns of Tahina spectabilisB, Individual of T. spectabilis just after anthesis. C, Abaxial surface of lamina base showing folds. D, Detail of transverse veinlets. E, Inflorescence. F, Infructescence.
All photographs by Nathalie Metz. | DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2007.00742.x


Etymology:  Tahina– Malagasy for ‘blessed’ or ‘to beprotected’; also one of the given names of Anne-Tahina Metz, the daughter of the discoverer of the palm

Distribution:  Tahina  spectabilisis known only fromone locality in Analalava district, in the north-west of  Madagascar.  In  the  gently  rolling  hills  and flatlands of the region, now dominated by anthropogenic grasslands, there is a small outcrop of ‘tsingy’, karst  Tertiary  limestone,  running  approximately north–south and about 250 m long, carrying a semi-natural vegetation (Fig. 3A). The outcrop is visible in satellite imagery at Google Earth and the grey crowns of the palm are even visible, although blurred.

 J. Dransfield, M. Rakotoarinivo, W. J. Baker, R. P. Bayton, J. B. Fisher, J. W. Horn, B. Leroy and X. Metz. 2008. A New Coryphoid Palm Genus from Madagascar. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 156:79-91. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2007.00742.x


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

[Paleontology • 2015] Sefapanosaurus zastronensis • A New Basal Sauropodiform from South Africa and the Phylogenetic Relationships of Basal Sauropodomorphs

Sefapanosaurus zastronensis
Otero, Krupandan, Pol, Chinsamy & Choiniere, 2015  doi: 10.1111/zoj.12247

We present a new medium-sized basal sauropodomorph, Sefapanosaurus zastronensis gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Triassic−Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa. It is represented by parts of the postcranial skeleton of at least four individuals, including: cervical, dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae, most of the forelimb, and part of the hindlimb. Sefapanosaurus bears several autapomorphies of the astragalus, and referred material also shows autapomorphic features. The inclusion of Sefapanosaurus in a phylogenetic analysis places it within the group of sauropodomorphs more closely related to sauropods than to Massospondylus (i.e. Sauropodiformes), increasing the currently known diversity of the so-called ‘transitional forms’ leading to Sauropoda. Character optimization revealed the presence of several features that are common for taxa placed within the transitional branches basal to Sauropoda. Sefapanosaurus, together with other transitional sauropodomorphs reported during the last decade, highlights the importance of Gondwanan taxa for understanding the palaeobiodiversity, global distribution, and macroevolutionary changes in the group related to the rise of sauropods.  

Keywords: Anchisauria; Elliot Formation; Gondwana; Sauropoda − Sauropodiformes

Systematic palaeontology
Dinosauria Owen, 1842
Saurischia Seeley, 1887

Sauropodomorpha Huene, 1932
Massopoda Yates, 2007

Anchisauria Galton & Upchurch, 2004
Sauropodiformes Sereno, 2007

Sefapanosaurus zastronensis gen. et sp. nov.

Holotype: BP/1/386, incomplete articulated left pes including astragalus, calcaneum, a putative distal tarsal IV, proximal portions of metatarsals III and IV, and almost complete metatarsal V.

Etymology: From the Sesotho language sefapano, meaning ‘cross’, and from the Greek saurus, meaning ‘lizard’, in reference to the cross T-shaped ascending process of the astragalus. The specific name makes reference to Zastron, the type locality.

Figure 19. Simplified reduced consensus tree showing the calibrated phylogeny of basal sauropodomorphs close to Sauropoda with their respective distributions on the continents where they were found.
Abbreviation: Pliensbach., Pliensbachian. || doi: 10.1111/zoj.12247

Sefapanosaurus zastronensis increases our knowledge on the diversity of basal sauropodiforms (sauropod outgroups) in the Triassic−Jurassic of Gondwana. It displays a set of characters in the ulna, manus, fibula, and ankle that identifies it as a distinct taxon within Sauropodomorpha, corroborating its taxonomic separation from Aardonyx, contrary to previous hypotheses/assumptions (McPhee et al., 2014).

The new taxon also adds significant anatomical and phylogenetic information about the transition of basal sauropodomorphs to Sauropoda, especially with regard to characters of the manus and the pes. The identification of Sefapanosaurus as a taxon closely related to Sauropoda, together with other taxa discussed here, highlights the importance of Gondwanan taxa for understanding the evolutionary origin of sauropods.

Alejandro Otero, Emil Krupandan, Diego Pol, Anusuya Chinsamy and Jonah Choiniere. 2015. A New Basal Sauropodiform from South Africa and the Phylogenetic Relationships of Basal Sauropodomorphs.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 174(3), 589–634. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12247 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Herpetology / Paleontology • 2015] Deep Nesting in A Lizard Varanus panoptes, Déjà Vu Devil's Corkscrews: First Helical Reptile Burrow and Deepest Vertebrate Nest

Figure 2. Composite Varanus panoptes nesting burrow based on actual burrow dimensions. The burrow is plugged with soil, except for the top-most 0.5 m and the nest chamber.
Scale bar = 3 m.

Dating back to 255 Mya, a diversity of vertebrate species have excavated mysterious, deep helical burrows called Daimonelix (devil's corkscrews). The possible functions of such structures are manifold, but their paucity in extant animals has frustrated their adaptive explanation. We recently discovered the first helical reptile burrows, created by the monitor lizard Varanus panoptes. The plugged burrows terminated in nest chambers that were the deepest known of any vertebrate, and by far the deepest of any reptile (mean = 2.3 m, range = 1.0–3.6 m, N = 52). A significant positive relationship between soil moisture and nest depth persisted at depths > 1 m, suggesting that deep nesting in V. panoptes may be an evolutionary response to egg desiccation during the long (approximately 8 months) dry season incubation period. Alternatively, lizards may avoid shallower nesting because even slight daily temperature fluctuations are detrimental to developing embryos; our data show that this species may have the most stable incubation environment of any reptile and possibly any ectotherm. Soil-filled burrows do not support the hypothesis generated for Daimonelix that the helix would provide more consistent temperature and humidity as a result of limited air circulation in dry palaeoclimates. We suggest that Daimonelix were used mainly for nesting or rearing young, because helical burrows of extant vertebrates are generally associated with a nest. The extraordinary nesting in this lizard reflects a system in which adaptive hypotheses for the function of fossil helical burrows can be readily tested.

Keywords: DaimonelixDiictodon; eggs; nest-site choice; Palaeocastor; Varanus panoptes

J. Sean Doody, Hugh James, Kim Colyvas, Colin R. Mchenry and Simon Clulow. 2015. Deep Nesting in A Lizard, Déjà Vu Devil's Corkscrews: First Helical Reptile Burrow and Deepest Vertebrate Nest. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12589

J. Sean Doody, Hugh James, Ryan Ellis, Nick Gibson, Mitchell Raven, Stephen Mahony, David G. Hamilton, David Rhind, Simon Clulow, and Colin R. McHenry. 2014. Cryptic and Complex Nesting in the Yellow-Spotted Monitor, Varanus panoptesJournal of Herpetology. 48(3); 363-370. DOI: 10.1670/13-006

[Paleontology / Ootaxa • 2015] Nipponoolithus ramosus • Dinosaur Eggshell Assemblage from Japan reveals unknown Diversity of Small Theropods

eggshells likely belong to a variety of theropods (Nipponoolithus ramosus oogen. et oosp. nov.Elongatoolithus sp., Prismatoolithus sp., and Prismatoolithidae indet.) and at least one ornithopod (Spheroolithus sp.)
illustration: M. Hattori |

• We describe a diverse dinosaur eggshell assemblage from Japan.
• Five different ootaxa, assignable to theropods and ornithopods were identified.
Nipponoolithus ramosus oogen. et oosp. nov. was erected as a new ootaxon.
• This study reveals a hidden diversity of small theropods in Lower Cretaceous Japan.

The Lower Cretaceous (Albian) Sasayama Group in the Hyogo Prefecture of southwestern Japan has yielded various vertebrate fossils, including skeletal remains of dinosaurs, anurans, lizards, and mammals, and recently eggshell fragments. Here we report on numerous fossil eggshells from the bone-bearing Kamitaki locality in Tamba City, which represents a diverse dinosaur eggshell assemblage. Of the more than 90 eggshell fragments recovered, five different types were identified, including eggshells that likely belong to a variety of theropods (Nipponoolithus ramosus oogen. et oosp. nov.Elongatoolithus sp., Prismatoolithus sp., and Prismatoolithidae indet.) and at least one ornithopod (Spheroolithus sp.). All eggshells are relatively thin, and a new derived estimation method correlating egg mass with eggshell thickness indicates that they are among the smallest (28–135 g) theropod eggs known, likely laid by small bodied forms. The eggshell assemblage from this locality suggests that a diverse small dinosaur fauna, consisting primarily of theropods, nested in the region, a diversity yet to be evidenced from skeletal remains in Japan.

 Keywords: Dinosaur; Egg mass estimation; Eggshell; Japan; Lower Cretaceous; Sasayama Group

Systematic paleontology
Dinosauria Owen 1842 sensu Padian and May, 1993.

Theropoda Marsh 1881b sensu Gauthier, 1986.

Oofamily. Incertae sedis.

Oogenus. Nipponoolithus, oogen. nov.

Type oospecies. Nipponoolithus ramosus oosp. nov.

Diagnosis. As for the type and only oospecies.

Etymology. Nipponoolithus refers to Japan (Nippon), and form 'oo' meaning egg and 'lithos' meaning stone in Greek.

Type locality and horizon. As for type and only oospecies.

Oospecies. Nipponoolithus ramosus oosp. nov.

Etymology. The specific name means branching in Latin, referring to the branching ridges on the outer surface of the eggshell.

Holotype. MNHAH D1-040057, an eggshell fragment.

Referred specimens. Isolated eggshell fragments (n = 7) (MNHAH D1-040058 to D1-040063).

Type locality and horizon. The holotype and all referred specimens come from the lower part of the 'Lower Formation' of the Sasayama Group in Kamitaki, southeastern Tamba City, Hyogo, Japan.

Diagnosis. Nipponoolithus ramosus differs from all other ootaxa in the following unique combination of traits: low-relief, branching ridges on the outer surface; eggshell thickness ranges from 0.37 to 0.53 mm (average 0.44 mm); eggshell consists of a mammillary layer and a continuous layer delimited by an abrupt boundary; mammillae composed of acicular or wedge-like crystals; mammillae wider than high; mammillary layer to continuous layer thickness ratio of 1:2 to 1:4.

Kohei Tanaka, Darla K. Zelenitsky, Haruo Saegusa, Tadahiro Ikeda, Christopher L. DeBuhr and François Therrien. 2015. Dinosaur Eggshell Assemblage from Japan reveals unknown Diversity of Small Theropods. Cretaceous Research. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2015.06.002

世界最小クラスの新種の恐竜の卵の化石が見つかる ニッポノウーリサス・ラモーサス 兵庫県丹波市山南町
兵庫県丹波市で新種の恐竜卵化石を発見 - カルガリー大など(マイナビニュース) - goo ニュース
兵庫県丹波市で新種の恐竜卵化石を発見 - カルガリー大など #ldnews

[Mammalogy • 2015] Glischropus aquilus • Thumb-pads Up — A New Species of Thick-thumbed Bat (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Glischropus) from Sumatra

aDark Thick-thumbed Bat | Glischropus aquilus 
Csorba, Görföl, Wiantoro, Kingston, Bates & Huang, 2015
FIGURE 1. Portraits of live specimens of a) Glischropus aquilus n. sp. holotype from Sumatra (MZB 35030),  b) G. bucephalus paratype from Cambodia (HNHM 2006.34.37.), c) G. tylopus from Thailand (HNHM 2009.52.1.). 
Not to scale. | Csorba, et al. 2015


To date, three species of the genus Glischropus are recognized from the Indomalayan zoogeographic region—G. bucephalus from the Indochinese subregion, G. tylopus from the Sundaic subregion (Peninsular Thailand and Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Moluccas) and G. javanus, restricted to Java. The investigation of the holotype and three topotype specimens of G. batjanus supported the view that the name was previously correctly regarded as the junior subjective synonym of G. tylopus. During review of material recently collected in southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, one specimen of a yet undescribed species of Thick-thumbed bat was identified. Glischropus aquilus n. sp. markedly differs from its congeners by its dark brown pelage, nearly black ear and tragus, and in skull proportions. The phylogenetic analysis based on cytb sequences also supports the specific distinctness of G. aquilus n. sp. Its discovery brings the count to 88 species of bats known from Sumatra.

Keywords: Bukit Barisan Selatan, Indonesia, Pipistrellini, taxonomy

Etymology. The specific epithet /a.kvi.lus/ (meaning dark-coloured in English) refers to the blackish ears and generally darker pelage of the new species relative to its congeners.
The proposed English name is Dark Thick-thumbed Bat.

Csorba, Gábor, Tamás Görföl, Sigit Wiantoro, T. Kingston, Paul J. J. Bates & Joe C.-C. Huang. 2015. Thumb-pads Up — A New Species of Thick-thumbed Bat from Sumatra (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Glischropus). Zootaxa. 3980(2): 267–278.

[Paleontology • 2015] Collinsium ciliosum • A Superarmored Lobopodian from the Cambrian of China and Early Disparity in the Evolution of Onychophora

Collinsium ciliosum 
Yang, Ortega-Hernández, Gerber, Butterfield, Hou, Lan & Zhang, 2015
 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505596112

Collinsium ciliosum, a Collins' monster-type lobopodian from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota of China.
— Jie Yang/Javier Ortega-Hernández 


Paleozoic lobopodians constitute a diverse assemblage of worm-like organisms that are known from various exceptional fossil deposits and were among the earliest animals to develop skeletonized body parts for protection. Here, we describe Collinsium ciliosum gen. et sp. nov., an armored lobopodian from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba Lagerstätte (South China). Collinsium belongs to an extinct clade of superarmored lobopodians characterized by supernumerary dorsal spines, and specialized limbs for filter feeding; collectively, these fossil taxa represent a well-defined group within the lineage leading to extant velvet worms (Onychophora). Despite their greater morphological variety and appendage complexity compared with other lobopodians and extant velvet worms, Collinsium and its close relatives embodied a unique, yet ultimately failed, autoecology during the Cambrian explosion.

We describe Collinsium ciliosum from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba Lagerstätte in South China, an armored lobopodian with a remarkable degree of limb differentiation including a pair of antenna-like appendages, six pairs of elongate setiferous limbs for suspension feeding, and nine pairs of clawed annulated legs with an anchoring function. Collinsium belongs to a highly derived clade of lobopodians within stem group Onychophora, distinguished by a substantial dorsal armature of supernumerary and biomineralized spines (Family Luolishaniidae). As demonstrated here, luolishaniids display the highest degree of limb specialization among Paleozoic lobopodians, constitute more than one-third of the overall morphological disparity of stem group Onychophora, and are substantially more disparate than crown group representatives. Despite having higher disparity and appendage complexity than other lobopodians and extant velvet worms, the specialized mode of life embodied by luolishaniids became extinct during the Early Paleozoic. Collinsium and other superarmored lobopodians exploited a unique paleoecological niche during the Cambrian explosion.

Kaywords: Collins’ monster, Xiaoshiba Lagerstätte, Cambrian explosion, evolution, phylogeny

A graphical depiction of the morphology of ancient onychophorans. X denotes unavailable or incomplete limb data for the taxon; dashed line indicates morphospace distribution for all members of stem group Onychophora.
— Javier Ortega-Hernández

Jie Yang, Javier Ortega-Hernández, Sylvain Gerber, Nicholas J. Butterfield, Jin-bo Hou, Tian Lan, and Xi-guang Zhang. 2015. A Superarmored Lobopodian from the Cambrian of China and Early Disparity in the Evolution of Onychophora. PNAS. doi:

Spiky monsters: New species of 'super-armored' worm discovered
via @Cambridge_Uni @EurekAlertAAAS 
Armored Spiky Worm Had 30 Legs, Will Haunt Your Nightmares via @LiveScience

Saturday, June 27, 2015

[Botany • 2015] Hoya tamdaoensis • A New Species (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) from Vietnam

FIGURE. 1. Photographs of a living plant of Hoya tamdaoensis Rodda & T.B.Tran cultivated at the Singapore Botanic Gardens (M. Rodda MR729, SING) a. Inflorescence, adaxial view; b. Inflorescence, abaxial view; c. Branch, peduncle, and pendulous inflorescence
Photographs by M. Rodda. || Phytotaxa || DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.217.3.6


A new species of Hoya R.Br. from Tam Đảo National Park (Vĩnh Phúc Province, Vietnam), Hoya tamdaoensis Rodda & T.B.Tran,is described and illustrated. It is distinguished from the morphologically similar Hoya siamica Craib by corolla size, lamina shape, coloration, and orientation of the petioles.

Keywords: Hoya siamica, limestone, lithophytic, lower montane forest, Marsdenieae, Eudicots, Vietnam

Hoya tamdaoensis Rodda & T.B.Tran spec. nov. (Figs. 1 & 2) Similar to Hoya siamica Craib (1910: 419) in exhibiting inflorescences positively geotropic, convex, flowers numerous, corollas white, pubescent within, and leaves glabrous, but distinguished by the corolla size (1.8–2.2 cm diam. vs. < 1 cm diam. in H. siamica) and the lamina shape (base attenuate-rounded and apex caudate vs. base cuneate or acute and apex acute or acuminate in H. siamica). 

TYPE:— VIETNAM, Vĩnh Phúc prov., Tam Đảo N.P., Máy Giấy trail, 1072 m, 20 September 2011, Nguyễn Quốc Bình, Jana Leong- Škorničková, Trần Hữu Đăng VNM-B1465 (holotype, SING!; isotypes HN!, VNMN!).

Etymology:— The new species is named after the collection locality, Tam Đảo National Park, Vietnam. 

Distribution and ecology:— Only known from the type locality in Tam Đảo National Park, Vietnam. Hoya tamdaoensis was found growing epilithically on limestone covered by moss in evergreen lower montane forest. 

Conservation status:— Known from only one locality; the preliminary conservation status of Hoya tamdaoensis is Data Deficient (DD; IUCN 2014).

Michele Rodda, The Bach Tran and Quoc Binh Nguyen. 2015. Hoya tamdaoensis (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae), A New Species from Vietnam. Phytotaxa. 217(3): 288–292. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.217.3.6